Four Indians appointed by FIH as officials for 2023 World Cup

Sonia Bathla, Col (Dr) Bibhu Kalyan Nayak, Raghu Prasad and Javed Shaikh were on Monday initiated as officials for the 2023 event to be held in Rourkela.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: HI President Gyanendro Nigombam congratulated the four Indian officials on their appointment.   -  Getty Images

Four Indians were on Monday appointed as officials in various capacities for the 2023 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup, to be held here and in Rourkela.

Sonia Bathla was named as technical official by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Col (Dr) Bibhu Kalyan Nayak as medical officer, and Raghu Prasad and Javed Shaikh as umpires for the showpiece event.

Sonia from Delhi Hockey will be the lone woman from India to be appointed as technical official for the prestigious tournament.

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"I look forward to doing my duties to the best of my abilities in this prestigious event," Sonia said in a Hockey India release.

"It is fantastic that Hockey India has promoted women officials over these years and have given us several opportunities to equip ourselves with knowledge and the know-how of international standards through their regular clinics and workshops."

Col (Dr.) Bibhu Kalyan Nayak, an expert in Sports Traumatology and Sports and Exercise Physiology, had previously held the position of the Chair of FIH Health and Safety Committee.

"This will be my second time serving as the Medical Officer at a World Cup event in India. I feel proud to be given the opportunity once again, and I understand it is a huge responsibility. I am confident I will do justice to the role," he said.

Javed Shaikh, who officiated at the Tokyo Olympics, said, "I am proud I will be a part of this incredible tournament to be held in India. Just like how players need to prepare for the tournament, my job as an umpire too will be cut out and I need to focus on my fitness and speed to bring out my best," he said.

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Over the last decade, Shaikh has umpired at major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games as well as the 2014 Men’s World Cup in the Hague in the Netherlands. He was also called up as an umpire during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Umpire Raghu Prasad, who hails from Bengaluru, said, "It is a great honour for me to once again be a part of the umpire panel for another World Cup event. I will continue to put in all the hard work." In the last 16 years, Prasad has umpired at major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, three World Cups, and the Tokyo Olympics.

HI President Gyanendro Nigombam congratulated the four Indian officials on their appointment.

"It is a matter of great pride for Hockey India that our officials will represent India at the marquee tournament in 2023. I wish all the four my best wishes on their endeavours."

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